Elon Musk believes colonizing Mars will save humanity
You'd be excused for thinking Elon Musk is crazy. Even with his successes in rethinking electric vehicles and commercial spaceflight, the man's beliefs in the face of incredible challenges can make him seem like a blind visionary. If you're of that mindset, Musk's latest interview, published as part of a feature story on Aeon, will do little to change your mind.
In it, Musk says that he's fighting to colonize Mars not for aspirational purposes or advances in R&D that could be used here on earth, but because he feels he must do all he can to keep the flame of humanity alive. "I think we have a duty to maintain the light of consciousness, to make sure it continues into the future," he says, adding that he thinks the reason we haven't found other intelligent species might be because there "are a whole lot of dead, one-planet civilizations" strewn across the universe.
Musk is doing what he can avoid the same fate, and he sees Mars as the stepping stone to expanding humanity beyond earth. In his vision, 100,000 flights over the next century will allow us to build a sustainable colony of a million people on Mars. It's certainly the stuff of science fiction, but it's almost impossible not to root for Musk as he works to turn his wild dreams into reality.